Using Lightroom to resize images for TCC competitions

Resizing images in Lightroom to meet the TCC competition guidelines is pretty easy, as long as you take advantage of some Lightroom capabilities that aren’t well advertised.  I’m going to assume that you already have the image you want to submit in your Lightroom catalog, and that you have a folder (or want Lightroom to create one for you) to hold the output.  In my case, I have a folder called “2015-16 Submissions” with a subfolder named “October 2015.”  You can manage things to your own taste, but that’s what’s reflected in this tutorial.

We’ll start with a simple raw file (a Nikon NEF file) of the “Mittens” formation in Monument Valley, edited and cropped to about 4900 pixels wide by 2200 pixels high.  It’s still a NEF raw file, but we’ll be asking Lightroom to resize it to meet the TCC guidelines, rename it to meet the naming requirements, and output it as a JPEG file no larger than 350 Kb.

LR Screen 2015-10-05_100044-600

Starting in the Lightroom Library module, select the image you want to export for the competition.  You can do this in the grid view or in the expanded view shown here.  Click the “Export” button at the lower left of the Library screen.  You’ll be sent to the “Export One File” panel.


At the top of the first section, shown above, make sure “Hard Drive” is set as your “Export To:” location. Lightroom remembers export settings from one session to the next, and it’s worth checking to make sure you’re not exporting to Google or e-mail or one of the other destinations provided.

Now select the specific file location you want to use for the exported image.  I’m using the folders I mentioned earlier: “2015-16 Submissions” as the main folder, and “October 2015” as a subfolder.  You can choose other options if you prefer, like saving the image into the folder from which the original came, and so on.  Lightroom will create a subfolder for you if you name one and it does not already exist.  I also suggest checking “Add to the catalog” to make sure you have a record of the export and can verify its size and dimensions.  You can always delete the entry later.


In the “File Naming” section, check “Rename To:” select “Custom Name” and use the file name you have chosen, following the TCC format.  I used “the_mittens_345_b” for this example.  The file-type suffix (e.g., “.jpg”) will be added by Lightroom.  You can skip the Video section and go on to “File Settings.”


Make sure the image format is set to JPEG and the color space to sRGB.  Check the “Limit File Size” box and enter “350” as the size.  You could fiddle around with the quality slider until you got a version 350Kb or smaller, but it’s easier to let Lightroom pick the highest quality consistent with the file size limit.

Fill in the Image Sizing section as shown above.  Check the “Resize to Fit” and “Don’t Enlarge” checkboxes and pick “Width & Height” for the resize option.  Enter 1024 for width and 683 for height.  Lightroom will observe the size limits and preserve the original aspect ratio.  You can leave Resolution at the Lightroom default of 240.

The last three sections (Output Sharpening, Watermarking and Metadata) are up to you.  I sometimes select output sharpening for screen, and leave the other two sections alone.

The image I used was almost like a panorama, with a width more than double its height.  Lightroom generated a JPEG that was 1024 pixels wide by 460 pixels high, the correct values for an image with these original dimensions.  The size was 309K, well below the 350K maximum.

This method works beautifully.  Once you have it set up, you can save it as a Lightroom export preset, using the “Add” button at the bottom of the presets panel on the left.  You can strike out those items that you might want to changeat the time of export (like filename and destination folder) so that you can fill them in when you use the preset.  I created one called “TCC Submissions” that you can see under User Presets in some of the illustrations shown above.

— Bill Geoghegan